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Five questions with Diploma of Specialist Make-up Services student Joshua Churchill

We caught up with NIDA Diploma of Specialist Make-up Services student, Joshua Churchill, to discuss his experience in the course so far, as well as his future career plans. 

Joshua Churchill 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what you were doing prior to studying our Diploma of Specialist Make-up Services and why/how you came to study at NIDA.

I have been part of my local theatre in Goulburn for a long time, being part of every facet of production from performing to lighting and loved all of it. Prior to coming to study at NIDA, I was originally a hairdresser and had tried a few different careers (nursing, aspiring academic) but none of them suited me; eventually I decided to go with the only constant in my life which was theatre and I thought it was a good idea to use a skillset that I already had and go into specialist makeup. This is the first year NIDA has offered the makeup course and I felt it was a great opportunity to be a part of.

2. What drew you to this course specifically? Why make-up services in stage and screen, and not just a general make-up course?

This course is very comprehensive compared to others, for example: it is the only course where students do both wig knotting and prosthetics to the depth that NIDA does. I very much enjoy being part of the creative process and makeup is a great area for collaboration and character creation; helping the actors and directors reach their vision is very satisfying.

3. How are you finding the course so far?

AMAZING! The school has been so welcoming of all of us. I have learnt so much and gained so much confidence in my skill level that I thought I would never achieve and we still aren't done yet!

Working with the Musical Theatre and Directing students on their Weimar cabaret was a lot of fun; researching the period and coming up with a complete look was a great experience.

4. We’ve been told you’re the course hairstylist due to your background as a hairdresser in Goulburn – how do the two skillsets (hairdressing and make-up) co-exist? And how do you plan to utilise the two in the future, particularly for stage and screen?

In the Australian make-up industry, the two go hand in hand so you must be able to do both, otherwise your employability is very minimal. I don't mind this duality as I feel I get to create the whole character. I have a particular interest in wigs and love creating some beautiful pieces; I’m hoping to study wig making in more depth eventually.

I don’t think I’m done with study just yet. I may work in the field for a bit, but I have become pretty interested in design so I may be back to do something more.

5. Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment that you can share with us?

I am currently doing the wig maintenance for The Griffin Theatre Company’s production of The Turquoise Elephant, directed by Gale Edwards. It is an incredible opportunity to be working with such talented people and being able to put my name to something so remarkable like this show!

I am also doing the special effects make-up for Chamber Pot Opera – a small independent opera at the Queen Victoria Building; which has also been a magnificent experience and artistic show that I'm proud to be part of.

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